This article was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Loan Huynh, Fredrikson Immigration Department Chair, is a member.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced several measures to provide relief to Syrians in the United States, summarized below.
Temporary Protected Status Extended, Redesignated
DHS is extending the designation of Syria for temporary protected status (TPS) for 18 months, effective October 1, 2022, through March 31, 2024. DHS is also redesignating Syria for TPS.
Extension. The extension allows existing TPS beneficiaries to retain TPS through March 31, 2024, as long as they otherwise continue to meet the eligibility requirements. Existing TPS beneficiaries who wish to extend their status through March 31, 2024, must re-register during the 60-day re-registration period, which begins on the date of publication of the notice in the Federal Register. As of press time, the notice was expected to be published on August 1, 2022.
Redesignation. The redesignation of Syria allows additional Syrian nationals (and individuals having no nationality who last habitually resided in Syria) who have been continuously residing in the United States since July 28, 2022, to apply for TPS for the first time during the initial registration period. In addition to demonstrating continuous residence in the United States since July 28, 2022, and meeting other eligibility criteria, initial applicants for TPS under this designation must demonstrate that they have been continuously physically present in the United States since October 1, 2022.
DHS said the extension of TPS for Syria allows approximately 6,448 current beneficiaries to retain TPS through March 31, 2024, if they meet TPS eligibility requirements. Approximately 960 additional individuals may be eligible for TPS under the redesignation, DHS noted.
Certain Requirements Suspended for Syrian F-1 Students
Effective October 1, 2022, until April 1, 2024, DHS is suspending certain regulatory requirements for F-1 nonimmigrant students whose country of citizenship is Syria, regardless of country of birth (or individuals having no nationality who last resided in Syria), and who are experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of the civil war in Syria. Eligible Syrian students may request employment authorization, work an increased number of hours while school is in session, and reduce their course load while continuing to maintain their F-1 nonimmigrant student status. DHS said it will deem an F–1 nonimmigrant student who receives employment authorization by means of the notice “to be engaged in a ‘full course of study’ for the duration of the employment authorization, if the nonimmigrant student satisfies the minimum course load requirement” as described in the notice.